Have you seen that documentary on Netflix called Minimalism? It follows these two guys known as The Minimalists who wrote a book and are touring telling people all about what minimalism is, and how it will make your life better.
So overall I did like the movie. It was motivating, and really drove home the fact that we live in such a crazy rich part of the world. We don’t NEED all the stuff we have. It highlights how media tells us what we want. I do have some thoughts though! I actually am drawn to minimalism. When I’m on Pinterest it’s the minimal, clean type of images that pull me in. I’ve made a capsule wardrobe in the past and it was surprising how manageable it was. And how put together I felt even with less clothes to choose from. We live in a land of excess. It’s fed to us through advertising, through our shows, through our favourite celebrities. We are trained to want more. And more. And more. And it’s never enough. Once we get that item we thought would make us happy, we are told there’s a newer and better thing out there. What you have NOW just isn’t ENOUGH.
However, as a friend pointed out, these guys are technically searching for happiness through minimalism. “If you get rid of all your extra things, THEN you’ll be happy!”
So isn’t this kind of the same problem as excess, only in reverse? Everyone is searching for their happiness. With excess, in North America, we’re told we’ll be happier if we just get that latest “thing”. Success is measured in what you have, not who you are. Minimalism tells us we’ll be happier if we have little. And you know what, it’s not a terrible idea! It’s really hard to appreciate what you have when you can’t remember what you have. And there’s something healthy about getting rid of things we no longer need or use. Passing them on, donating them, giving these things a chance to be used and serve their purpose. But a person cannot simply find happiness and joy in either abundance or very little.
Sometimes God teaches these lessons in the most interesting ways. Wouldn’t you know it, the same weekend I watched this documentary, the sermon at church was on contentment. Check it out if you’re interested, I would do a disservice to the sermon by trying to summarize! I’m no pastor! haha!
My takeaway: It’s about balance. It’s about fighting the cultural norms of more, more, MORE, but not falling into the trap of idolizing something else in the place of “more”. I don’t want a crazy minimalist house, but I also don’t want so much STUFF. I want to be a good steward of the earth by not consuming more than necessary. I want to be more conscious of WHAT I’m consuming too.
Being a new year, I definitely feel the need to clean house. I have too much. When we moved here we threw everything into boxes without much thought. Just pack it and go. Now there’s just too much clutter in my house, which leads to clutter in my mind. I feel it suffocating me. My kids have too many toys. I have too many clothes, most of which I don’t even love, or don’t fit right now (but I keep because ONE DAY MAYBE?) My drawers are all full. My shelves are packed. How much of this do I use? Who could benefit from the items that I don’t use?
So I guess as I continue to purge my material items from my house I’m going to continually ask myself the question – “why?” What am I hoping to achieve by minimizing? Because if I’m just chasing joy, I’m on the wrong path.
What are your thoughts? Have you seen this movie? I really wanted to know how the families they featured in the movie that have less operate and how they manage life with kids! It’s a whole other element of “STUFF STUFF STUFF” coming into my house that I find hard to control! Let me know if you have any tips or tricks, or what your own struggles are!